Moments of grace

I had a shithouse start to the day, shithouse, of course, being a relative term. I didn’t get hit by a truck. No-one shot at me. I didn’t break a leg or discover I had a terminal disease. No-one called with bad news. Shithouse was more the run of the mill, domestic, daily run of the mill kind of bad that gets you cursing without surprising you too much. As they day, shit happens, and that’s so, then so to does the shithouse.

We had an awful night in Melbourne last night – the hottest March night on record. It made sleep tough. I woke and I was weary from it, and I had a bit of a chest and throat infection I’d carried for a few days. I wandered around the house wondering if I should be going to work at all – I barely had a voice on Tuesday. In the end I figured I was well enough to go to work, so off I went.

I got to the station at the usual time, just as a train was leaving. It wasn’t my train, I wanted the City Loop, so I wasn’t too fussed. Then of course the announcements came. There were heavy delays and a few cancellations and it boiled down to no trains for 20 minutes. Just as that dawned on me a few heavy drops of rain began falling on me.

I made a snap decision. I didn’t want to wait for a faraway train standing in the rain, so I got back in the car and began to drive. I headed towards the station at Brighton Beach, on another line, hoping that I might catch a train more readily there. As I got close the rain came down heavily, and after circling looking for a parking spot I cursed once more and started to head back. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing.

I ended up back home, where I sat on the couch for a minute thinking I may as well stay home. That was the easy option and everything was pushing me that way, but it didn’t sit right. And so I got back in the car again and headed to the station where I had started.

I got there at about 8.15, just in time, once more, to see another train depart. The next didn’t come for nearly 15 minutes. The rain, which had been sporadic all morning, came again as I stood there on the platform waiting for the train. I was running way late and in no good mood.

The train came and as I expected there were no seats to be had. Standing there in the crowded train and swaying with it I realised how shaky I felt. I stood and looked out the window listening to my music. Then a moment of grace came.

At Caulfield a bunch of people got off. A seat became available right where I was standing. I took it as the train moved off again. Right at that moment Brahms Symphony no 3 began playing. There’s something about that piece that evokes time and memory. It’s melodic, romantic in nature, but also elegiac. It’s music that has me recalling past summer’s, times before, good times, but also the sweep of time marching on. Things will come, but they will end also, and such is life.

All this was evoked in me again as the train jolted on. I looked out the window still, at the passing scenes, on my way to work. And I thought how good it was to remember music like this, and to recall in the middle of so much alleged shithousery that music like this could exist, and that there were men, there were souls, who created it. It’s a pure antidote to the trivial shits that ail you: beauty exists regardless.

I guess that lasted for about 10 minutes. Then we got to Richmond and were told to get off the train and began to walk away, before being told we should get back on the train, maybe. In the end we got on as others who believed they should stay there had to get off. Somehow we made it to our destination. I was 40 minutes late.

Then, at 4pm, I came home after all – but that’s another story.

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